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Help with Boiler Construction

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Hello all help please my first post on this section having just joined the group. I am about to start to make a small pot boiler and have a number of books and forums to call upon for my research. I do not have a metal lathe and looking for alternative methods to make the boiler bushes. I do have a wood turning lathe and I am considering an attempt to make the boiler bushes on the lathe. The plan is to buy material as near as possible to the OD I need and then turn down the last section using my lathe with metal lathe tool cutting tool. I think it will be possible to cut the internal threads on the lathe and donít see a problem with that. Can anyone see any problems with my idea ? Any advice greatfully received.
The boiler size will be about 2 1/2 OD and about 4 inches tall. My reading material is Tubal Cain and  Stan Bray, Making simple model steam engines.
Thanks for reading

Smudger, while I am not one of the experienced boiler makers on the forum and can't speak to the technical details of that, the use of a wood lathe for metal work could be problematic. Immediate questions that come to mind are what type of chuck does it have? Does it have a cross feed? What kind of tool post is available?  A picture of the lathe might help but in the long run, if you are serious about doing metal work, even a smaller import machine designed for metal work would be a good investment. There is plenty of help here for selecting a machine as well.  Not wanting to rain on your parade at all, but safety and accuracy are both concerns in metal work. I am sure others will have opinions as well.


Thanks for the reply Bill. No cross feed on a wood lathe Fully award and take your point on H and S. I note there are a number of posting on You Tube of people using wood lathes for metal turning. If my calculations are right I would be trying to remove about 2 mm dia of material at a length of 6 mm this would be brass or bronze and would be free hand using a static tool post.

For boiler bushes you want to use bronze, not brass. Bronze would be pretty tough to turn that way, but probably could be done with very light passes, would take a while, and getting tight tolerances would be tricky.

Ian S C:
Hi Smudger, If you have the means to hold the metal in your wood lathe, a wood turning scraper will turn down a bit of brass / bronze quite easily for boiler bushes.
Ian S C


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